Blackfoot Religion and the Consequences of Cultural Commoditization: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Blackfoot Religion and the Consequences of Cultural Commoditization

1st Edition

By Kenneth Hayes Lokensgard


212 pages

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Paperback: 9781138262171
pub: 2016-11-15
Hardback: 9780754668268
pub: 2010-10-05
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315569512
pub: 2016-04-15
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This book explores the exchange of Blackfoot "medicine bundles" within contemporary Blackfoot culture and between the Blackfoot Peoples and Euro-Americans. These ceremonial bundles, which are circulated as gifts in their native context, are robbed of their statuses as living beings or persons, when they are treated as symbolic objects or commodities by cultural outsiders. Much of the original, ethnographic data presented in this book deals with the attempts of some Blackfeet to repatriate ceremonial materials from Euro-American hands. This book represents a valuable study of contemporary Blackfoot religion as well as the repatriation movement. Kenneth Lokensgard also contributes to the studies of material culture and exchange; central to his investigation is the critical examination and reapplication of the interpretative terms "gift" and "commodity." Careful use of these terms, Lokensgard argues, can better help scholars appreciate how different peoples perceive the worlds they inhabit.


'Kenneth Lokensgard's careful, descriptive, and informative study of Blackfoot Medicine Bundles shows how the commodification of the exchange order eroded the culture of the Blackfoot and offers the opportunity for a critical pause that allows us to raise different and alternate understandings of the nature of exchanges, intimacies, and society.' Charles H. Long, University of California, Santa Barbara USA '… the book is intellectually stimulating for it dwells on many controversial areas. The subject matter of the book that the reviewer found most interesting (the explanations of the meaning of Blackfoot bundles) is clearly analyzed. The chapters bearing directly on them will be useful to teach non-Native students a radically different form of spiritual/religious practice.' Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review

About the Author

Kenneth Hayes Lokensgard is the Research Coordinator at Washington State University’s Plateau Center for Native American Research and Collaborations. His areas of interest include Indigenous ontologies, Indigenous epistemologies, repatriation, and religious freedom. He has conducted regular fieldwork in these areas with members of the Blackfoot Confederacy of Montana, USA and Alberta, Canada for over a decade. His publications include "The Matter of Responsibility: Derrida and Gifting across Cultures" in the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, "Indigenous Religionists in North America" in Religions in Focus: New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices, and Native Peoples� in The History of Evil (forthcoming from Routledge).

About the Series

Vitality of Indigenous Religions

Routledge's Vitality of Indigenous Religions series offers an exciting cluster of research monographs, drawing together volumes from leading international scholars across a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. Indigenous religions are vital and empowering for many thousands of indigenous peoples globally, and dialogue with, and consideration of, these diverse religious life-ways promises to challenge and refine the methodologies of a number of academic disciplines, whilst greatly enhancing understandings of the world.

This series explores the development of contemporary indigenous religions from traditional, ancestral precursors, but the characteristic contribution of the series is its focus on their living and current manifestations. Devoted to the contemporary expression, experience and understanding of particular indigenous peoples and their religions, books address key issues which include: the sacredness of land, exile from lands, diasporic survival and diversification, the indigenization of Christianity and other missionary religions, sacred language, and re-vitalization movements. Proving of particular value to academics, graduates, postgraduates and higher level undergraduate readers worldwide, this series holds obvious attraction to scholars of Native American studies, Maori studies, African studies and offers invaluable contributions to religious studies, sociology, anthropology, geography and other related subject areas.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General